Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard came on the speakers, the bartenders went right into dance mode, and the place went wild. Carefully, Rin began dancing. She did not want her rear end hanging out the backside of this ridiculously short miniskirt.
Even with her cautious attitude, Rin was enjoying the song, the drink, and the atmosphere. She was not enjoying the hands that made a sudden appearance on her rear. Rin quickly turned around, intending to put whoever thought they could be Mr. Grabby Hands with her in their place.
Before she could finish her 180, she felt the hands leave her rear, followed by a loud ‘oof.’ Upon completing the turn, she got a gander at the handsy jerk bent over holding his gut.
At the same time, Kevin stood there, an avenging angel torn between checking on her or ripping the arms off Mr. I-Don’t-Believe-in-Personal-Space.
“Are you all right?” Kevin asked Rin with barely controlled anger in his voice.
“I’m good,” she told him. Before Rin even finished the word ‘good’ with her diligent insistence on not dropping her consonants, Kevin was hauling Mr. Grabby up so he could drag him to the door. Oh, he was hot in beast mode. She got chills watching him in action.
Crystal rushed to her side and said, “While hunting for a table, I ran into Kevin and his friends. I turned around to ask if you wanted to sit with them and realized you weren’t behind me. I was trying to locate you in the crowd, to check on you, seen Mr. Grabby, and before I could move, I watched Kevin vault over a railing and a table to get to you and remove the idiot’s hands from you.”
Rin didn’t think Crystal had taken a single breath during that explanation.
“Are you OK?” Crystal asked worriedly, “Hurt?”
“No, no, not hurt,” Rin replied. “A little shaken up. This bar is not like any place we go to back home. I am feeling small town girl-slash-idiot right now. I shouldn’t have gone out there without making sure one of you were with me. That was the original plan! Also, I hate all this attention on me, and I’m getting ready to hyperventilate.”
“Ack! Don’t do that!” Crystal shrieked.
“Not. Helping,” Rin said through gritted teeth.
“Sorry,” Crystal said. “Come on. The guys are here. You know, the ones we’ve been talking about all day? They said there is room for us at their table. Well, I haven’t been talking about Kevin because he’s my cousin, and that would be gross, but you know what I mean.”
“Hmmm…” Rin said, regaining her composure. “The Shirtless Hotties happened to be at this bar out of all the places on the strip. How. Convenient.”
“Well, maybe I mentioned it to Kevin after you got in line at the donut place,” Crystal said sheepishly.
“I don’t think there is any ‘maybe’ about it,” Rin laughed.
Crystal had been trying to find Rin a man since they discovered that boys were on the Earth for more than chasing on the playground. Rin wasn’t interested in Crystal’s matchmaking efforts until now.
Rin wanted what her parents had, and she was unwilling to audition a bunch of men to find it. Instead, for her, she would know when it was The ONE. Kevin AKA Shirtless Hottie Number One had the most potential for that role in her life out of anyone she had ever met. This feeling, this sense of wonderment, was new and fresh and crisp like that taste in the air when fall was turning to winter. Indefinable, yet real. Honestly, Kevin Garland had been on her mind nonstop since this morning, so she wasn’t the slightest bit upset that Crystal wanted to play Yenta this time.
As Rin and Crystal reached the table, the men stood up with questions about whether Rin was OK. Did she need anything? After Rin assured them that she was all right and took her seat, they sat down, visibly relaxing an inch. Rin was aware of them continually scanning the room as if they were waiting for an attack. She guessed it was part of their occupational training.
Glancing up to see Kevin returning to the table, she didn’t even try to stop the enormous smile that bloomed on her face. Kevin noticed her smile, a hint of heat flashing in his beautiful brown eyes, and returned Rin’s smile with one just as big.
If she could deal with the crowd, tonight was going to be awesome. She knew it.